I don’t know if anyone remembers about our village owl box project. I wrote about it when we were young and innocent and blogged courtesy of CL.
As part of our local biodiversity project 28 shiny new designer owl boxes were erected within our local parish. For six exhausting days back in February, these huge and unwieldy tawny and barn owl boxes were lugged through fields and over stiles by the intrepid owl box team. I volunteered the keen mountain biker as official photographer, but he was quickly promoted to the wheel barrow and ladder party. Mainly because we owned the wheel barrow and ladder.
The initial opinion was that no owl would even consider their new homes for at least a year. I secretly feared the only occupants were likely to be grey squirrels and magpies, but I’ve been proved wrong.
The owl inspector, yes there really is one, has confirmed a large number of the barn owl boxes are in use. Three separate adults and thirteen young were weighed and tagged, and at the time of inspection, five more eggs were still to hatch. Another box showed signs of habitation by a buzzard. The tawny owl boxes haven’t been checked yet but results should be equally promising.
Owl numbers have plummeted throughout Britain in the past few years, so the results of our little project are enormously exciting and very satisfying.
Now we have to decide upon our next project. Thinking back to those damp and freezing treks across muddy fields, way back at the start of the year, I’m keen on a dormouse village. The boxes are much smaller and easier to carry for a start. Hopefully we will be able to find a sympathetic landowner with just the right sort of coppiced woodland.
If anyone else has been involved in similar projects or if you have any ideas for small scale, inexpensive projects that may help our local flora or fauna I’d love to hear from you.
(Sorry about the rubbish quality of the picture but I had to copy it from our news sheet. It is a picture of one of the owls being tagged.)